Salafy Ink

Boycotting For Three Days Or More

August 4, 2016
Imām Bin Bāz
Hisham Abouzeid

A discussion and a debate happened between me and my brother, afterwhich we have severed ties with one another. The reason being, that I forbade him from committing a certain sin. Is this considered boycotting? For I have heard a hadith that - in meaning - states: No Muslim should boycott his brother for 3 [i.e. days]? Please benefit me may Allah bless you.

The hadith states: (No Muslim should boycott his brother for longer than three [i.e. days]) as for three only then that is permissible.

However, this boycotting is as it relates to matters of worldly affairs. If [for example] he gets into an argument with his brother, or a dispute - a matter of contention between them - perhaps claims or litigation before a judge, then he has room to boycott him for up to three days. However, he may not boycott him for more than three [days] and the better of [the two of] them is the one who resumes greeting the other with Salam.

If, however, the boycotting is for the sake of Allah, due to a sin that has been committed, then this is not bound by the three day limit or by four or more. Rather, it is permissible to boycott and legislated to boycott those who sin publicly without hiding it, even if longer than three days, even up to a year, even two, or even longer - until the sinner repents, and ceases his misguidances and sins. Indeed, the messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and his companions have boycotted three men from among the companions for 50 nights. This is when these three remained behind and didn’t accompany the army headed for the battle of Tabook, although they had no valid, legislated excuse to remain behind, so the Prophet ﷺ boycotted them and directed the people to boycott them. So 50 nights passed in this state until Allah granted them repentance so the Prophet ﷺ commanded the people to greet them with salam and made public the affair of their repentance.

So what is intended here is that boycotting for the committing of sins, or for falling into innovations, is not bound by the three-day time limit, rather it is bound by gauging the affair of the innovator or the person who is sinning publicly. Should he repent and leave off that sin, and leave off that innovation then his brothers will resume greeting him with Salam, and should he remain stubborn upon that public disobedience or that open innovation then he deserves to be boycotted and it is legislated to boycott him until he repents to Allah from that.

Unless boycotting him increases the evil and results in greater harm, then in that case he should not be boycotted in order to avoid the greater harm and the greater evil, in accordance with the legislative principle that the lesser of two harms should be committed in order that the greater of them should be avoided and that the greater of two benefits should be taken even if that results in the lesser of them being lost. And in any affair this is a very serious matter, where people vary widely, so where ever boycotting is deemed more beneficial to the sinner and the innovator then he should be boycotted so long as he remains stubborn upon his innovation. And he should he repent and recant his brothers, the Muslims, should resume greeting him with Salam, and whenever it happens to be that boycotting him will increase the evil, the trials, and cause greater harms than his sins and innovations are causing to the Muslims, then in that case he should not be boycotted, but rather he should be advised, and guided constantly, such that perhaps he may return to that which is upright. And his mistakes should be explained and clarified to him and his brothers should show him that they dislike his actions and hate his deeds such that he recants and repents, all the while keeping in sight that they should take the necessary measures to stop his harms and reduce his evils, and protect the people from his harm.

Fiqh and Fataawa